Gin and tonic from Cedar Square Night Market

A Visit to Fourways and Some Thoughts on Markets

Joburgers love markets.

I’m not talking about farmers markets or flea markets. In Joburg, the term “market” usually refers to a gathering of eclectic food and craft vendors where people go to eat, drink, shop for specialty products, and to see and be seen. The markets always happen either on weekend days or weekday nights, either weekly or monthly.

These markets are popping up all over the city, and they are very trendy, and for a long time I was judgey about them. I had this idea that all the offerings at all the markets are basically the same, and I couldn’t see the point of going to a market when I can just eat in an actual restaurant or shop in an actual store.

So when I was invited to attend the Stall Night Market at Cedar Square Shopping Centre and write a blog post about it, I hesitated. A night market in the parking lot of a shopping mall, in Fourways? (I’m also judgey about Fourways, exurban land of massive malls and housing complexes.) I wasn’t so sure.

Cedar Square night marketThe night market at Cedar Square.

Then I told myself to stop being a diva and open my mind. So I went to Fourways, to the shopping mall parking lot, to the night market. And I had such a good time.

A Night Out at the Market

I arrived at the market at 5:00 p.m., right when it starts. The first place I noticed was a bakery stall, run by a group of friends who were selling cupcakes and donuts to raise money for charity. The cupcakes cost R10, or about $.70. I bought a peanut butter cupcake and my friend Frances (who I just happened to bump into in the parking lot) chose a chocolate brownie cupcake. They were delicious and the bakers were charming.

Cup cakes from night marketCupcakes.

Cupcake bakersThe adorable cupcake bakers.

After the cupcakes, we moved on to craft gin cocktails. Yes, craft gin is totally trendy and hipster in South Africa at the moment. But that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious.

Making a gin and tonicThe makings of a craft gin cocktail by Eighteen13.

Blueberry gin cocktail at sunsetI chose the blueberry gin cocktail because I thought it would photograph well. I was certainly right. It also tasted very good. It was a pricey drink at R60, or about $4.50, but worth it.

After consuming a cupcake followed by a cocktail, I realized I was having my courses in the wrong order. I said goodbye to Frances, who had another appointment, and decided to wander around for a while to work up an appetite before buying my actual dinner.

I met Winnie Maluleke, who runs a fashion business called Voila Feel Beautiful. Winnie makes amazing clothes and accessories out of recycled T-shirt material.

Winnie from Voila Feel Beautiful
Winnie with one of her beautiful shawls.

Watches from Voila Feel BeautifulI was very tempted to buy one of these watches.

I met Thabs Mtimkulu, who specializes in colorful, tasty sauces. I was keen on the hot pink beet pesto, but eventually walked away with a jar of bright yellow habanero hot sauce. I will definitely be eating some of that on my veggie burger tonight, as soon as I finish this blog post.

Thabs from Culinary on CallThabs Mtimkulu of Culinary on Call.

I met the lady at the Prickly Pear Mexican food stand, who makes something called a “burrito burger”.

Burrito burger from Cedar Square Night MarketBurrito burger. Unfortunately I didn’t have space in my stomach for one of these — I’ll have to go back next month.

My final stop was Ole Smoki, the place I’d been scouting out for my dinner all evening. Ole Smoki, a father-and-son operation, sells massive platters of smoked meat (their specialty seems to be pork but I saw chicken, too) smothered in fried onions and mustard sauce.

Platter from Ole SmokiA “medium” pork eisbein platter from Ole Smoki.

Small platter from Ole SmokiThe “small” platter I ordered, which cost R60 (same price as my gin cocktail, which is kind of crazy). I ate half and just finished the rest of it today.

Some Thoughts on Markets

As I was driving home, I thought about all the interesting market vendors I’d met — how diverse they were and the innovative products they were selling. I thought about how attending markets is one of the best ways to support small entrepreneurs, many of whom can’t afford to open brick-and-morter shops or restaurants.

I also thought about the diversity of clientele I’d seen at the market, and how Fourways is more than just an exurban land of malls and gated complexes. If I lived in Fourways I’m sure I’d be on the lookout for places like this, where I can get out and connect with other people and buy things that might not be available in the strip mall up the road.

Yes, the market is in a mall parking lot and yes, I struggled to keep that ugly Virgin Active sign out of my photos. But parking lot or not, markets are great community gathering spots.

Family eating at Cedar Square MarketA family eats an early dinner at the market.

I was wrong to be judgey about markets. From now on I’m going to more markets.

The Stall Night Market takes place on the third Thursday of every month from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Cedar Square Shopping Centre in Fourways.

This post was commissioned by the Cedar Square Shopping Centre. Opinions expressed are mine.

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  • Reply autumnashbough October 23, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I’m game for any market with food. I await your Christmas Market post!

    • Reply 2summers October 23, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      I’ll try to find a good one for you.

  • Reply violetonlineisonline October 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    the food looks totally delicious.
    and i don’t see a single Virgin A sign…

    • Reply 2summers October 23, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      It’s in the photo of the cupcake bakers. I managed to crop it out of the others.

  • Reply Gail Scott Wilson October 23, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I’m all marketed out, went to Neighbourhoods on Saturday which I have not visited for a long time and was somewhat disappointed, there was nothing new. The same stall holders selling the same overpriced stuff. I do however agree they are a place to hook up and hang out, “community gathering spots.” Your food looked good.

    • Reply 2summers October 23, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      It was! Maybe these outer suburb markets are the places to find new stuff these days 🙂

  • Reply Johannesburg City Guide November 22, 2017 at 11:13 am

    […] markets are spread all over the city nowadays. (The link contains a list of other neighborhoods’ markets, as […]

  • Reply MapleAndMarula January 5, 2018 at 10:02 am

    I’m a huge fan of markets! I’ve been to the Rosebank Sunday Market several times, usually with out of town guests. They can get all the African “crafty” stuff they need, and the vendors there aren’t nearly as pushy (intimidating to foreigners) as a lot of other places. On top of that, there’s some really cool artwork there, a guy who makes ridiculously beautiful handmade pens, and a guy who makes insanely beautiful lamps out of massive hunks of wood.

    If you ever get the chance to venture out to Pretoria on a weekend morning, I’d highly recommend the Pretoria Boeremark. It’s mostly food, but it’s the ONLY place I’ve found that sells maple sausages and maple bacon that is remarkably similar to home. And the artisan cheeses, jams, and everything else are mind blowing. The only catch is you need to be there super early- like before 6am, to get the good stuff.

    • Reply 2summers January 5, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Oh yes, I’ve heard good things about that market. Will add it to the list.

  • Reply Firsts, lasts and everything in between. Plan your calendar! | Liz at Lancaster Guest House Blog March 26, 2018 at 9:28 am

    […] but apparently the night market at Cedar Square is great fun. Every third Thursday of the month the Stall Artisan Night Market takes place from 5 to 9pm. And on the first and last Saturday of the month from 10-3 is the Cedar […]

  • Reply Johannesburg City Guide August 7, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    […] mercados están repartidos por toda la ciudad hoy en […]

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